A sea lion pup that wandered onto the streets of San Francisco early Thursday morning is now resting safe at a marine mammal rescue center. A tourist first spotted the male sea lion under an SUV in San Francisco’s Marina District around 6:30 a.m., ABC News station KGO-TV reports.
It took rescue crews close to a half hour to eventually capture the animal, with aerial helicopter footage showing one rescue worker finally getting the sea lion into a net. “Luckily the San Francisco Police Department had stopped traffic around him and was protecting him until we got there,” Shawn Johnson with the Marine Mammal Center told KGO-TV.
After the sea lion was captured, workers with the Marine Mammal Center realized they’ve dealt with this particular seal once before. “He was rescued in Santa Barbara County in February and brought up here for rehabilitation. He was here at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito for nearly two months,” Johnson told KGO-TV.
The person who found the sea lion the first time named him “Rubbish,” Johnson told KGO-TV, and in that time, he’s lost close to 20 pounds. Johnson said sea lions such as Rubbish are part of a growing problem, as crews from the center have rescue more animals in the past four months than all of 2014.
“The elevated ocean temperatures have caused all the fish to migrate farther away from them,” Johnson told KGO-TV. Johnson said he hopes after this latest stay at the center, the sea lion pup will go on to live a successful life in the wild. “It is pretty heart-wrenching to know that you put all this effort into rehabilitating them and giving them a chance out in the wild,” he said.